Swimming and diving: LA girls take third at St. Mike's

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By Mike Cote

Even with almost all of its varsity swimmers taking the day off, the Los Alamos Hilltopper boys and girls still turned in respectable showings at Saturday's St. Michael's Invitational.

Los Alamos' girls still made the top three in team competition at Saturday's meet. The boys team results weren't available at press time.

Going into this week's Albuquerque Academy Invitational, Los Alamos head coach Bev Leasure wanted to make sure her varsity was fresh and sat most of her top swimmers. But several boys and girls came through for the 'Toppers with big swims, which is what she was looking for.

She was particularly impressed with the performance of her girls 50-yard freestylers Saturday, several of whom managed to chop down season- and personal-best times in the event.

"It gives us a lot more depth and a lot of options on relays," Leasure said. "We had a lot of kids last year who were 28, 29, 30 (seconds)."

In the event, four Hilltoppers Vanessa Chavez, Taylor Montoya, Chelsea McLean and Maria Musgrave turned in sub-29 second performances. Montoya was down .22 of a second with her time of 28.38, and Musgrave knocked off nearly a full second with her time of 28.47.

Also for the girls, Lauren Castro had a good showing in the 100 butterfly with her time of 1:09.50. Castro, who hasn't been at full strength this season, was .17 seconds better than her previous best time in the event.

"She's really started getting back in the swing at (winter) break," Leasure said of Castro. "She's really close to qualifying. That's good."

On the boys' side, freshman Jonathan VanderWiel made the single biggest improvement of the day, taking 16.89 seconds off his 100 freestyle time from a year ago. Mikhail Skurikhin had the best swim of the day for Los Alamos in that event, finishing in 57.98.

Individual results will be in Tuesdays Monitor.